Ahh, the open road, starry night skies, camping next to a mountain lake, and sleeping in a real bed at night. All this with the comforts of home rolling along with you.
Recreational Vehicles, or RVs, are a popular way to travel with kids for good reason. Did you know that you do not need to own an RV to enjoy RV travel?
Renting an RV for your next family vacation is a great idea!
By renting an RV, you can enjoy the benefits of RV travel without owning, storing, and maintaining one. RV travel combines transportation, lodging, and dining in one self-contained unit. You can see many sights and include multiple national parks at a leisurely pace on a family road trip.
Read more in the series: Part. 27 Pros and Cons of Renting a Camper for a Family Vacation.
I have even found that many people who own and love their RV, will still rent one. Instead of driving an RV across the country, they will drive a car or fly to the first stop on their road trip and go on from there. (Want to see our personal camper? Here is the link)
We have done this when we flew to Canada and rented a motorhome to camp near Toronto and see Niagara Falls.
If you decide to rent an RV for a family road trip you will need to know where to rent one from. There are many local and national companies that will rent RVs. Another option is the sharing economy. Read more in-depth about finding an RV to rent for cheap.
Best RV Vacation Destinations
To really get into planning an RV trip, you need to be able to imagine your family at your destination. I mean that’s the appeal of RVing, right? So what are some of the best designations? I will suggest a couple of my favorites and ones I am dreaming of.
Colorado RV Road Trip
Colorado is a popular place to take an RV road trip. We have visited many places right here in our home state. I guarantee that you will love RV camping in Colorado. your road trip could include Rocky Mountain National Park, the Great Sand Dunes, and even Glenwood for soaking in the hot springs.
Camping on the Oregon Coast
Camping on the Oregon Coast is amazing and in my opinion, the best way to spend time at the beach. You can camp right on the beach and have the ocean at your back door. Each beach in Oregon is so different and there is something new to explore at each location.
Utah National Parks
An RV road trip to see the big 5 National Parks in Utah would be an unforgettable vacation in a camper. We love the Moab area and have been camping in different places there. We have resources for camping in Moab and visiting Arches National Park.
Florida Road Trip
Florida sounds like an amazing winter destination for road tripping. While the rest of the country is covered in snow and many sad RVs sit in storage, you could be basking in the sun. This is on our bucket list and in this case, I think we would rent an RV in Florida (rather than take our own travel trailer.)
The Benefits of the RV Sharing Economy
An important source of RV rentals are the online platforms that have emerged from the new “sharing economy.” They are designed to match would-be renters with privately owned rental vehicles. Many RV owners like to rent out their vehicles as a source of extra income. These private rentals are usually arranged through online platforms, similar to Airbnb for lodgings.
Its peer-to-peer model of commerce lets you shop around and save, rather than just take the first rental you see. Because these platforms rent out private vehicles rather than stock rental vehicles, you can find unique accommodations and experiences.
You can also find rental in rural areas outside the city centers. By renting from the locals you will also get insider information and tips for the area, similar to an Airbnb.
We rent our RV out to people who want to enjoy the mountains of Colorado. Some people drive to the area and then rent our travel trailer. Others are local and leave from here on an RV road trip.
Where to Rent an RV
There are many share-economy rental sites that offer a variety of rental RVs at a range of prices. Two of the most important ones are Outdoorsy and RVShare, Both platforms have been described as the Airbnb of RV rentals.
RVShare was founded by a couple who loved traveling in their RV, and wanted other people to be able to share the RV-ing experience. Following the sharing economy model, RVShare doesn’t have actual vehicles in stock. Rather, it serves as a clearinghouse for RV owners who want to list theirs for rental. In addition to standard-class RVs, RVShare also offers a variety of mini-RVs, at prices that start at $10 a night. Check out the rentals near you on RVShare here.
The other major RV rental platform, Outdoorsy, has been called “the #1 most trusted” RV rental outfit in the world. It has vehicles available all over the country—more than likely there will be one near you. In many cases, they can even deliver your rental vehicle to your home or travel destination.
The Outdoorsy site follows the Airbnb model in many ways. For example, like Airbnb, it groups available RVs to appeal to travelers’ interests (vintage experience) or meet travel needs (pet friendly).Unlike Airbnb, though, where you might stay at the home of someone you never meet, Outdoorsy also involves renters routinely meeting the RV owners . Outdoorsy is one of the fastest growing companies of this kind.
Because we are part of the Outdoorsy network, we are able to offer you a discount on your first rental (applied at checkout so bookmark this article) $50 off Outdoorsy
If you prefer a more traditional RV rental service, Cruise America may be for you. This RV rental firm has 125 locations across the continental United States, Alaska, and Canada ( in Canada through Cruise Canada). Cruise America specializes in large to compact RVs and truck campers. It also offers RVs for sale.
Their vehicles are less varied than what you would find on a share economy platform. Cruise America is also like a moving truck rental service in another way. Each vehicle has the company logo painted on the sides, serving as advertising for the company. The best idea is to check for discounts or coupons from them.
The first motorhome we ever drove was one we fly into Toronto and rented from CanaDream. I called ahead and found a deep discount. The whole vacation was cheaper for our large family than renting a mini-van and paying for hotel rooms and restaurants.
The motorhome came stocked with linens, cooking utensils, a generator and many other things to make our trip comfortable. They gave us about an hour training and off we went.
Other Rental Options
A variety of other companies rent out RVs as well. Some rental sources even supply dishes and other household items as part of the package. Some RV dealerships also offer rentals, and so do some RV campgrounds.
While some rental companies are locally owned and operated, many offer nationwide service. When you decide to rent an RV, there are multiple factors to consider. These include where you are going, for how long, and what your family’s needs are.
This is part of our series on renting an RV for a family vacation.
If you are convinced that renting an RV with kids is a great idea, we have so many more resources for you. From where to find a cheap rental to how to safely travel with a baby or toddler in a motorhome. We cover everything from car seats in an RV to getting the kids to sleep.
- Part 2: 27 Pros and Cons of Renting a Camper for a family vacation.
- Part 3: 10 Foolproof ways to Rent a Cheap RV
Hi, I’m Shauna – Welcome to Family Travel Fever. We are a large family, that was bitten by the travel bug! We travel with kids and extended family. I take the kids by myself sometimes because I don’t mind flying or driving solo with my crew to discover the coolest places.
Sign up for our email list for my best travel tips plus get the family travel planner free.